How To Win Online Relationships And Influence Rankings

How To Win Online Relationships And Influence Rankings

“I need to build online relationships? How will that influence ranking?”

Promoting and raising the profile of brands or individuals online, in a similar vein to PR, is the basic role of SEO today. And like PR, having authoritative networks and connections increases opportunities for promotion.

So. If you can inspire influential contacts with high authority sites to cooperate with you (cite your brand, place your content or give you a link), their influence will, put simply, rub off on you and boost your own authority. But to do this you need to create and maintain good outreach relationships with those valuable influencers.

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“How will citations help my rank?”

Resulting from Google’s valuation of co-citation (wide-reaching mentions of a brand and their key attributes in content) SEO professionals are realising the importance of building relationships and outreaching to influential opportunities, in addition to link building.
So as the best way to outreach assets and build links to high authority sites, winning and maintaining online relationships to encourage links and citation should form a large slice of your content management strategy.

And as a result, the better your online relationships, the more authoritative your content and links will be, improving your overall ranking. Simple so far, right?

How to build online relationships

Well here’s the tricky part. Those contacts you’re trying to build relationships with? They know their influential power and won’t give it out to just anyone. To secure content placement and get strong links from a great source will require a little work, and lots of long-term maintenance.

  • Begin by boosting your own profile.

    You must contribute something useful to an online relationship to receive attention in return. Consider your own status and background as a useable asset. If you can prove you have a little substance (offering reputation, expert advice etc.) you are more likely to be listened to, and if you’re lucky, have content placed and links built. If you don’t have that sort of reputation, find some way to make your content or site look unavoidably appealing.

  • Source your opportunities.

    First of all, just finding a place to outreach to is hard. Now, with so many link builders requesting precedence on so many sites, locating and nurturing trusting relationships with just a few high-quality sources (matched to your own status and league) rather than many low-quality ones is difficult and time consuming, but worth the rank if successful.

  • Really plan your outreach approach.

    When first outreaching DON’T immediately dive into a link request, or ramble on about your great content or brand! Doing this will loose you an audience before you begin. Take a human approach to your introduction; you’re more likely to see a positive response if you’re brief and offer something of value (perhaps a simple compliment!), and must be prepared to give a lot more than you’ll receive. Online relationship building is like job-hunting. You can expect to send out a lot of CV’s and only get a few interviews in return.

  • Consider the signals you’re already sending out.

    Look at your social media, corporate site, blog updates and general online presence. Does it display interest in non-brand related subjects? Just as people don’t tend to make friends with self-centred individuals in the real world, to build online relationships you need to show sincere interest in other things – the individuals you’re contacting and their sites. Research the site you’re aiming placement on (part of planning your approach!), and in your outreach, state how examples of their work have inspired you and your content.

  • Don’t chase too hastily.

    Yes you’re excited about your new influential prospects, but resist the urge to fire off daily reminder emails! There’s nothing more annoying than an over-active link builder clogging an already stuffed inbox – and too much chasing can result in requests being rejected, regardless of the quality of the content.

Remember there is no quick easy way to build trust – it requires skill, creativity, luck, and like any relationship a little time, patience and compassion!

Post By Alastair Kane (2 Posts)

Alastair Kane wrote this article and is Content Manager at Strategic Internet Consulting a full service online marketing agency based in the UK offering online marketing and web development.

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10 Comments

  • avatar
    carlalexander 

    on 

    Wow, that’s a really eye opening article Kane and I now know how link building and relationship building can be related.

  • avatar

    I really loved the point about not being too overbearing with your outreach approach. I am turned off by people who claim to have amazing brands. Actions speak louder than words! If your brand is great, you don’t have to say it. It will be evident through your content and everything else you produce!

  • avatar

    This is a great article featuring many great explanation! I really like the “Consider the signals you’re already sending out” section; it is very important to show interest in other things than just yourself! If you involve yourself with other people, they will involve themselves with you!

  • avatar

    Some very useful points. I especially hate getting too much communication from people I have just connected with. It is a complete turn-off, and I usually delete their link.
    Relationships are built steadily over time, by sharing something of genuine value.

  • avatar

    This is so true. Online marketing and link building is not just a one-time approach to random people. Rather, we should build long-term relationships with them. Another thing to remember is the give-and-take approach. We should not always ask for favors without giving something in return.

  • avatar

    Expanding on your advice to take the human approach and give more than you receive, I would suggest that anybody who wants to build trustful online relationships, employs the Law of Reciprocity. The website or blog owner could offer a giveaway item, whether it be physical or virtual, like an ebook or something, in exchange for email addresses, so that the website/blog owner could start to establish a following, and the visitor receives updates.
    There were some great points in this article. A lot of people think that 50 articles a day will get them ranked, but if they are lacking in quality then it’s a tough sell. Some people are even de-indexed for such activity.

  • avatar

    I usually will build trust by finding people who also run websites and build online relationships while posting with them on boards and hopefully trying to find a way where we could work together with out sites. I have never been to go with emailing prospects.

  • avatar

    Worthy read Alastair. I think, Link building will be replaced with Relationship building. By this we will bet relevant relations and through this we can build high quality and trustworthy backlinks. Check out one of the video that has been shared in SEOMOZ blog regarding this, http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-varying-effectiveness-of-social-proof-whiteboard-friday

  • avatar

    One of the biggest advantages to building relationships is, as you stated, getting rankings and increasing your PR due to getting cited and getting your link on high-profile authority sites. SEO these days is all about quality over quantity, and Google really appreciates quality content that is user-friendly at this point. Thanks for the informative and useful article!

  • avatar

    I like that last point. Never spam people’s inbox. It’s a complete turnoff.

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